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Snowmobiles Are Fun! #1220
Back To Discussion List Written: 2004.12.05 by: Peter Rothermel

What follows is a small piece that I never got around to sending anywhere, so here it is for the first time:

  "Snowmobiles are fun"... but only fun for those sitting on them. The rest of us have to put up with the stink, the mess and the constant whining of the engines and their owners.

  "Snowmobiles are dangerous"... to me and my companions. I've nearly been run over in Arrowsmith Regional Ski Park (where snowmobiles aren't supposed to be allowed), again in Mt Cain Regional Park (are they allowed there?) and last year I stopped a snowmobiler that nearly ran over a little girl trying to get back up on her skis and suggested he travel with more caution when following ski tracks. His response was, "I have as much right to be here as you do.", flipped me the finger and sped off in a cloud of smoke.

  "Snowmobiles are polluting to the alpine environment"... and that's a fact! Two cycle engines run on an oil/gas mixture that releases as much as thirty percent of it's content through it's exaust. I've heard the response from snowmobilers, "Those are out dated studys. We have much cleaner engines now. " So what... now they're only spewing out ten percent of their petrochemicals instead of thirty?

  "Snowmobiles are a detrement to the alpine environment"... and that can be seen! The broken branches of newly growing trees are only the tip of the iceberg. When a half ton machine runs over and packs down the snow, that layer becomes dense and looses it's insulating effect. The flora and fauna underneath suffer from this compaction.
  The noise from snowmobiles interupts wildlife patterns. I know I turn and go away from the sound of one of these obnoxious machines when I hear them. One snowmobiler from the interior, when questioned about riding in a sensitive area for woodland caribo replied, "We never see any of them in this area, how can we be disturbing them?" Duh!? Maybe the reason they never saw any of them is because they're scaring them away? Oh, and back to why snowmobiles are fun...They must be alot of fun for that guy I saw, from a distance, trying to chase down an elk.

  "When they paint snowmobilers as being beer-drinking, litterbugs", a snowmobiler takes that's a statement needing clairification! Every year I see an increased use of the backroads by snowmobilers and ATV's and with that comes more garbage, more fire pits and more vandalism in general. Ten years ago, nothing, and now? On Pass Main leading from Cameron Main to the Arrowsmith Ski Park there are dozens of fire pit scars on the road left by the snowmobilers during winter. In some places there will be three or more fire rings within feet of each other. It reminds one of dogs peeing to mark territory and nearby just about every fire ring are beer bottles, (often broken) coke cans, half eaten hotdogs and plastic wrappers . During this past winter I put out four fires, on seperate occasions, left abandoned going full tilt, just meters from the second growth timber.
  I can hear the howls of indignation from the snowmobilers, "It's not our club...It's others. " Well, all I can say is it's snowmobilers making the mess and if the shoe fits, wear it! Snowmobilers don't clean up the mess, I do!

  Snowmobiles and ATV's do not belong in the alpine on Vancouver Island... nor in the alpine anywhere. In the interior and north people depend on these machines as weather dictates for their lifestyle. Nobody has their lifestyle in the alpine and especially not in southern BC or Vancouver Island. The only use for these polluting machines is for the thrill of speed and noise.

  I can already hear the reving and whining from the snowmobiles and their owners alike, "But you drive a polluting truck up the mountain to do your hiking and skiing!"
  Yes, I do... and pay close attention... I drive to get to a place where I can shut the damn machine off and spend the next six to sixteen hours enjoying my alpine on foot and in the quiet. I don't spend my enjoyment burning up fossil fuel and making noise... Frankly, I can't see how anybody, knowing what is common knowledge about global warming and how we effect our environment, could burn fuel for fun. How do the motorheads justify their "sport"?

  The snowmobilers wish to be part of the process in back country use, parks or otherwise? As a director for the Federation of Mountain Clubs of BC and in that role I have tried to set up meetings with the Snowmobile Federation of BC and their representatives on the Island, to no avail. All I've recieved is excuses and "Sorry, not that date".



#438 - 2005.02.27 Doug Brown - I love sleds
Work parties to the ski cabins in the Bonnington Range typically find aluminum and glass beer can/bottles stuffed into the wood stoves. You think the skiers are packing in cases of beer for 2 days? Those sledders are such jokers.

Snowmobiles are so indefensible that I am surprised there isn't an organization setup specifically to promote how bad they are. Maybe we should start one?

But I suppose, compared to all sorts of other stupid/evil human behaviour, sleds are small potatoes. Good thing our species is in its death throws.

#384 - 2004.12.05 Steve Grant - You Think Snowmobiles are Great? They're Nuthin'
Speaking from the viewpoint of my other outdoor recreation passion, flying east Vancouver's only privately-owned F18....

Now I understand there's a tiny radical vocal minority having a hissy fit about my chosen recreation. They complain it contributes to global warming. They bitch there's a fuel shortage. They whine that it spoils things for others. Well, I have my place in the world just like those chronic complainers. Like it or not, recreational jet flying is a great sport, provides lots of well-paid jobs, and it's here to stay.

I especially enjoy buzzing folks. I know they like it, because they turn out by the hundreds of thousands to be buzzed at airshows. Talk about a great thing for kids, you should see the families that come to see the planes.

One thing that really peeves me is not being allowed to break the sound barrier over populated areas. Have to do that 'way back in the mountains. Too bad, rattling people's windows now and then might wake them up a bit. I've sure woken up one or two mountaineers in my time. LOL The more people we get flying jets for recreation, the stronger voice we'll have to change the laws to make it even more fun. To start with, let's get rid of the prohibitions against flying under bridges, and from flying within 500 feet of people.

The parks have great scenery to zoom around in. Just like in the movies. Those are my parks too, even though my "outdoor experience" may be a bit different from a hiker. Don't like the noise? Gimme a break, the complainers drive noisy cars to go hiking, so what's the diff? Wear earplugs if you don't like it. Global warming? What a bunch of bs. There's no reputable science that proves any such thing is going on. And even if there is, what's wrong with growing bananas in Vancouver?

The bottom line is that recreational jetting is perfectly legal, and there's nothing that says that I don't have the right to burn whatever fuel I can afford to buy. To those who've never been in an F18: "Don't knock it if you haven't tried it." Give it a shot. You'll be hooked the first time and you'll never go back to hiking.

Hey, you bivouac folks who appreciate others' rights and don't mind a bit of "sonic tonic", let me know where your next trip is going and I'll put on a little buzz for you!